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Old November 4, 2010, 09:50 PM   #26
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special bifocals for pistol shooting

I have some insight into this topic as an optometrist. I am 54 years old and have the normal presbyopic problem with near vision. Some people do adapt well to progressive lenses and can easily shift to the intermediate and near vision you get progressively lower in the lenses. However, the intermediate region, slightly below the center of the lenses, is rather narrow in width and can be hard to quickly find.

I personally have had difficulty in adjusting to progressive bifocals and I wear segmented bifocals in everyday activities. But for pistol shooting, I prefer to Rx and wear a pair of segmented bifocals with the top part of the lenses not optimized for distance, but over-plussed by +.50 to put the front sights in reasonable sharpness, while still keeping the distance vision fairly good. This works quite well at 10-15 yards.

I have had patients bring there guns into my office and I use the trial-frame (that metal, adjustable frame with the interchangable lenses) to test different powers. Basically, you take the normal distance prescription and add plus power (this helps up close but decreases distance acutiy) until you find the best compromise. It is also possible to be creative and maybe over-plus the dominant distance eye +.25 or +.50 and the near eye +.50 or +.75.
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Old November 8, 2010, 10:43 AM   #27
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I had problems with a fuzzy looking front sight blade. It affected my accuracy tremendously, a lot more than I would have thought. Eventually I ended up talking to my eye doctor. He said bring in the gun, which I did. I held it out and he made me a pair of glasses with the focal point on where the front sight is. These glasses are fantastic! Suddenly my accuracy was back because I could see the front sight in sharp focus again. Nothing special about the glasses except he just put my point of focus where the front sight is.

Didn't realize how much a fuzzy front sight blade affected my accuracy until I fixed it.
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Old November 10, 2010, 12:02 PM   #28
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I too wear bifocals (progressive). Tilting my head back to focus on the front sight is not only a PITA, but impossible during (IDPA) matches. So I had shooting glasses made up. My left lense is single Rx for distance, my right Rx is focused at about 27", where the front sight normall is. This has worked wonderfully for me.

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Old November 23, 2010, 10:51 AM   #29
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I'm 47, and never had great eyesight to begin with. I keep wondering how my ancestors WEREN'T the ones who ran off the cliff hunting mastadons...

Since I realized you could buy prescription lenses dirt cheap on the internet (I'm averaging about $9 per pair of single vision glasses) I've tried a bunch of stuff.

Couldn't adjust to progressives, can wear bifocals for short times, but really prefer specific glasses for specific tasks. There's a set of distance glasses in the car, an intermediate distance (computer) set next to the computer, and near focus near where I read.

Experimenting, I've found that computer glasses tend to be a good compromise for IDPA. Their focal range is 21"-26", and my front sight falls within this range. I can still see well enough to read *a little* and can still see distance well enough to not run into barricades.

He who fights and runs away had better run pretty damn fast.

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Old November 23, 2010, 04:24 PM   #30
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I've tried everything, but nothing really works. Holding the gun as far from your eye as possible can help a lot, depending on your prescription. To really get a sharp sight picture, you'll have to get a 'scope. As they say, "there comes a time in every man's life when he realizes he's not 25 any more."

- Ruark
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Old November 23, 2010, 08:31 PM   #31
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Chris at set me up with stick-on bifocals when I had trouble reading vessel nameplates and such without tilting my head way back. They work great for shooting too. I use a 1.50 power bifocal sticker on the upper inside quadrant of my right lens. It brings the front sight into clear focus for hanguns and rifles. Between range visits I peel it off and put it back in the case. It is applied upside down and the bottom has to be trimmed to fit the profile of the top of your glasses. (It doesn't have to be, but it looks pretty odd otherwise. )

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Old November 25, 2010, 06:37 PM   #32
Lost Sheep
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Originally Posted by teumessian_fox
I wear progressive lenses and the "sweet" spot for focusing on my front sight requires me to hold my head at an awkward angle.

I'm going to take a handgun into my optometrist's office (clearing it with her first, of course) and have her prescribe a lens for my master eye that's corrected for the mid range distance. The other lens will be for distance.
I know that some pilots have eyeglasses set with one lens for the distance to their instrument panel and the other set for distance.

You don't HAVE to take the gun. Just take the measurement.
Originally Posted by Cowboy_mo
A friend told me about an eye doctor in St. Louis that makes special bifocals for shooter. In the dominant eye he has them made with the close vision correction on the top of the lens. That way you don't have to raise your head off the comb when shooting rifles with open sights.
I met a gunsmith in Anchorage who had his optometrist make up glasses just like that. The top of the lens is focused for the distance to the front sight. The lower portion is his usual prescription.

If you want to try it out without the investment, take your regular glasses and flip them over (Not side-to side, unless both your eyes have the same correction. Flip them to the temple bars are sticking out in front of your face.) You will probably have to hold the glasses to your head with a string of rubber bands or something.

Lots of solutions out there.,

I have a set of glasses that I requested made up for office work. Computer screen distance in the top portion and desk-top distance for the rest. They do OK for shooting.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
I am sure this guy isn't the only one in the country who has worked out this solution.
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Old November 25, 2010, 06:41 PM   #33
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Progressives = problem solved for me

Progressives = problem solved for me
أنا لست ارهابيا

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Old November 25, 2010, 09:45 PM   #34
Brad Kenney
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I too have progressive lens and adjusted my stance more upright to see the front sight clearly. I also stick bright red reflective tape in my front sights.
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Old November 26, 2010, 11:15 PM   #35
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At 57 I empathize with the original poster and many of those that have replied. My eyesight is something like 20/200. I have a Glock 19 with what probably would be considered oversize sights (they're made by Tru-Dot). While the sights aren't crystal clear when wearing my corrective lenses I can still line them up well enough to hit a torso size target consistently at 25 yards.
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Old November 27, 2010, 01:23 AM   #36
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billvau the eye Dr. is right on the money for me .. i just had some made like he was describing and took an old frame to Walmart .. $75 bucks and i had great shooting glasses .. bought a clip on sunglasses thingy and was in business .. less than $100 except for the exam .. it was time for some new tri focal's anyway .. don't ask what i paid for them .. geesh .. my eye Doc is a shooter himself and did me right .. now if only i could shoot straight
must be the gun huh? ..
Fight Crime - Shoot Back
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Old November 27, 2010, 01:50 AM   #37
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Rely on sense of direction

When you can't rely on your vision anymore, you'll rely on something else.

The first time i fired a weapon , it was a slingshot. If any of you guys have any experience with one of those contraptions, you'll agree that it is half aiming and half faith.

After constant shooting you develop a sense of direction, just to call it something, your arms and the target somehow align now....

Same thing, focus on target, shoot, and shoot some more, it'll come to you, your arms will learn.

In the end, if the focus is self defense, you will succeed on hitting the target.
You are just relying on your sense of direction more and more, your gun is becoming a pointing device.

That is what I do, and it works for me, i don't align the sights anymore, at 15 feet I'm very accurate, if the threat is further down I'd have to decide to get closer or run like hell.

Just like muscular force wanes away, the sight does, rely on something else that works.
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Old December 6, 2010, 08:09 PM   #38
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Took a class and brought this up...

I just completed a Defensive Tatical Handgun class and brought this up. They said to try to get the bifocals on the sights after acquiring the target.

However, I discovered that using the Center Axis Relock method (that was the method used in the class) I could see the sights through the distance vision part of my lenses. Although the sights were out of focus, the effect of the black sights with white dots against the full sunlight on the range and the targets was that the front blade appeared very thin. This very thin blade was easy to center in the notch of the rear sight and thus I was able to make accurate hits on the target.

I have decided against special shooting lenses since my primary concern is self defense. I will only have my regular glasses on in a self defense situation so I had better be able to shoot with them. Also, if awakened at night I might not even have my glasses on, so better be able to shoot without them (another excuse to go to the range!) Of course, for self defense work the Crimson Trace lazer will be on. For range work I keep the lazer off. Afterall, dead batteries happen!
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Old December 7, 2010, 10:02 AM   #39
Misssissippi Dave
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I have a greater problem seeing close up then distance. I got one pair of glasses just for pistol shooting. They are safety glasses with bi-focal lens. The top (main) part is set so I can see the front sight and the lowers are standard reading for me. It works for the most part. The further the target is away the worse the blurring of the target gets. It is still good enough to shoot center of mass at 25 yards for me. At 10 yards and less it works pretty good.

I did bring my normal carry pistol and the doctor was able to then set me up with the right prescription for the distance I wanted to be able to see clearly. It is advisable to ask the doctor if this is OK with him first.
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Old December 7, 2010, 02:03 PM   #40
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I'm 74 so have been fighting this thing for a long time. I finally gave up on iron sights and sold my pistols (except for 3 for self defense -- I can hit center of mass at 7 yards with no problem without sights). For hunting I have a red dot holo sight on my S&W 629 44mag and a scope for my 686 .357mag. Other than that I'm purely a scoped rifle guy, although sometimes I can manage peep sight good enough for hunting.
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Old December 14, 2010, 04:58 PM   #41
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I am on a computer 6+ hours a day for my profession, and could not live without my progressives. For shooting and daily work I have found that Verilux progressives work very well for me. Unfortunately they are expensive, but I have no choice.
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Old December 14, 2010, 05:20 PM   #42
Iron Man
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Solution to the problem!!!

The solution I found turns out to be so simple yet so effective.

Go to Walmart and get a pair of clip-on sunglasses that you mount to your shooting glasses. They come in multiple sizes and shapes, so you can get just about anything you want.

Determine what your dominant eye is. To do this look at a distant object and hold up your thumb so that it appears to cover that object. Close one eye and then the other. When you close one of your eyes and your thumb does not appear to move off the object then the open eye is the dominant one.

Do the following for the dominant eye.

Put the sunglasses on your shooting glasses and place a piece of black electrical tape with a small hole in it on the lens. Remove and replace the tape until you can bring your gun into position and see both sights and the target through the small hole without tilting your head.

Drill a small hole through the sunglass lense where the hole in the tape is.

Using very small wire cutters, remove the undrilled lens that would be over your non-dominant eye.

Spray paint the lens with the small hole flat black.

Once dry, place the new shooting patch on your shooting glasses. The reduced aperature forces a greater depth of field. You will find that your rear sight, front sight, AND the target will all be in focus and in the same plane.

It works, it costs about eight dollars to do, and you will be extremely happy.

I have made these for all my shooting friends. As a matter of fact, I have several I am making right now!
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Old December 14, 2010, 05:21 PM   #43
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Oh, and practicing repeatidly with these custom shooting glasses will make self defense second nature!
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Old December 19, 2010, 12:24 AM   #44
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Tried SafeVision?

I was very, very impressed with Chris Vogler, the optician here:

He's serious about making good shooting glasses and has done so for folks with a wide range of habits. He asks a lot about your habits and use, as well as physical details. Reasonable price for prescription lenses, plus he sends multiple sample frames for only a minor shipping fee so you can try different fits. Highly recommended.
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Old December 19, 2010, 07:45 PM   #45
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I wear progressives and they work OK! I found a sweet spot that works fairly well.
For SD I don't rely on sight focus as much as muscle memory, at 50 feet or less the sights being crisp aren't an issue, at 50 yards though they are everything!
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.--Mark Twain

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